Council renames park to reflect Baldwin City history
One of Baldwin City’s most popular parks was given a new name for the second time in a month.
On Monday, the Baldwin City Council approved renaming the park at 11th and High streets from West Park to Women’s Bridge Park, a name that links the park to the historic bridge that crossed Tauy Creek at on its northeast side. The action came two weeks after the council approved names for all nine of the city’s parks.
It making the recommendation Collin Bielser, city community development director, said the origins of the West Park name were murky from city records dating to when the park was developed in the 1980s. Council minutes from 1989 show a volunteer helping establish the park received the mayor’s blessing to suggest a name other than West Park for the space but there was no record of a name ever being recommended.
The park's new name denotes the bridge Baldwin City Mayor Lucy Sullivan and an all-female reform-minded council elected in 1899 built for $209 so that women could walk from the Santa Fe Depot to downtown without getting their long dresses muddy when wading Tauy Creek. Its original distinctive limestone arch remains the bridge’s structural core and can be seen from a concrete viewing area in the park just south of the bridge.
Council members approved the name change because of its nod to the city’s history. Councilman Ken Wagner said it would also prevent the park from being confused with Allen Park, which is actually the city’s westernmost park.
City Administrator Chris Lowe said the city’s newest facility, the clubhouse at the Baldwin City Golf Course, or Kappelle Park, was now complete and that the Baldwin City Recreation Commission was using it for senior programing. The city and the Baldwin Golf Association would have a grand opening for the clubhouse when weather improved later this month, he said.
With the opening, the council approved a new lease agreement with the golf association, which increased its annual lease payment from $1,200 to $4,000. The gold association agreed to the increase last year as a way to help pay for the $130,000 project. The BCRC also contributed $10,000 to the project.
The lease agreement allows the golf association to rent the clubhouse and course for other activities, such as family reunions, wedding receptions and Baldwin High School and Baker University cross country meets.